May 14, 2013
In light of recent news that Angelina Jolie underwent a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer, many women are wondering whether they should follow suit. They may be asking themselves, “Am I at risk? Is surgery right for me? Should my family members be concerned about their health?” These are all valid questions.
Compass Oncology's Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing (GREAT) Program is a leader in personalized cancer-risk reduction. By examining the personal and family history, our experts can best determine whether patients should be tested for mutations that increase their risk for certain hereditary cancers.
Dr. Langer is a medical oncologist, Director of Compass Oncology’s Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing (GREAT) program, and Medical Director of Cancer Genetics for US Oncology. In addition to over 15 years experience in genetic research at some of the nation’s leading institutions, she has advanced subspecialty expertise in breast cancer, lung cancer and lymphomas.
Fast Facts about Genetic Risks for Cancer:
- According to NCCN guidelines, any woman with epithelial ovarian, fallopian, or primary peritoneal cancer should be tested for BRCA mutations.
- Inherited cancers often occur at younger ages than sporadic cancers.
- Endometrial cancer is often the sentinel malignancy in women with Lynch (HNPCC) Syndrome.
- Up to 15% of oncology patients may have an inherited mutation that puts them at higher risk of cancer recurrence and at risk for second malignancy.
- BRCA mutations are present in as many as 1 in 40 Ashkenazi individuals in the general population.
- Cancer-causing mutations can be inherited from the mother or father.
- There are several cancers that could be caused by a gene mutation including breast, ovarian, fallopian tube, peritonea, stomach, colon, brain tumors, thyroid, kidney, melanoma, prostate, pancreatic and others.
- Both women and men can carry a genetic mutation in the cancer-causing genes.